Hire a Pro Advice: Install a Garage Door Opener

Get help finding a contractor to install a garage door opener and learn about the different types of openers.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Unless your garage was wired in anticipation of an automatic door-opener installation, running power to the unit is often necessary. If you hire out this job, make sure the installer is qualified to do electrical work, including having the installation inspected.

Online use a search engine like Bing, Google or Yahoo to find an installer by typing "garage door opener installer in (your city)" in the search box. You can find an installer of garage door openers in the Yellow Pages under "Garage Doors & Operating Devices". These companies sell, install and service garage doors and openers.

There are two basic types of garage door openers - chain or tape drive, and screw drive. The motors and track hardware are essentially identical; the major difference is the method used to pull the door-lifting carriage along the track. Those with bicycle chain or continuous nylon tape loops are motor-driven pulley systems. The other type has a solid steel screw that runs the length of its track. As the motor turns the screw, a gear-connected carriage rides up or down its length.

There is little physical difference among garage-door openers. They are available in a range of horsepower ratings, and higher-power units are usually a smart buy if the opener has to lift heavier oversize, double or insulated doors. Chain- and tape-drive units are dependable and economical, but they can stretch over time and go out of adjustment. Screw-drives are generally rated as top models. The newest units operate on alternating household electrical current (AC) but have DC motors with door-speed controls. Other features like microprocessor circuitry, force adjustment controls and rolling security-code operation also add convenience and an extra measure of security, but at a price.